​November 12, 1940: Hansberry v. Lee Is Decided

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This case involved Carl Hansberry, father to Lorraine Vivian Hansberry. She was a playwright and writer. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by her family’s battle against racial segregation in Chicago.

Hansberry v. Lee is a famous case now usually known in civil procedure for teaching that res judicata may not bind a subsequent plaintiff who had no opportunity to be represented in the earlier civil action. The facts of the case dealt with a racially restrictive covenant that barred African Americans from purchasing or leasing land in a Chicago neighborhood. 

The covenant had been upheld in a prior class action lawsuit, which had included Lee, along with all the other neighborhood landowners, as members of the class. The defense in the present case argued that Hansberry could not contest the covenant because it had already been deemed valid by the courts in the prior lawsuit.

Read more about this legendary case at:Daily Black History Fact

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